The fifteenth-century catalogue of the Peterhouse Library, initially compiled on Christmas Eve 1418, gives details of over 450 manuscripts. Our present collection of some 270 manuscript volumes represents over half the working library which was accumulated by the College during the two and a half centuries after its foundation; and is one of only three […]

Among the books that John Cosin (1595-1672) gave to Peterhouse, Cambridge, in 1662 is a volume of a large folio Bible in Latin (Perne Library, shelfmark S. 10b). It is printed in two colours (black and red) on vellum, with extensive penwork in red, blue, green, and purple inks (providing chapter headings, numbers, some initial […]

Peterhouse’s Ward Library takes its name from Sir Adolphus William Ward (b. 1837), who was Master from 1900 until his death in 1924.  Ward bequeathed some 5,000 volumes to the Library; however, this did not constitute the entirety of his personal library. The Ward Library has recently been able to procure further volumes from Ward’s […]

This month, on October 31st 2017, it is five hundred years since the event that is often said to have sparked the beginning of the Protestant movement in Europe: when Martin Luther nailed his ‘95 Theses’ against the doctrine of indulgences on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg. Therefore, it seems somehow appropriate that I […]

Recently acquired by the Ward Library is the undergraduate diary for the calendar year 1858 of Herbert Mills Birdwood (1837–1907) who rose to be Puisne Judge of the High Court, Bombay (1885–92).  The family had strong Indian connections and indeed Herbert Mills was born there.  He was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of the College […]

Isaac Barrow (1630–77) was admitted as a foundation scholar of Peterhouse in 1643, in the middle of the English Civil War. He did not stay long at the College, where his uncle and namesake had been a Fellow, but transferred to Trinity in 1646, and was elected a Fellow there in 1649. In 1655 he […]

The cataloguing project of the rare book collections in the Perne Library is now in its sixth and final year. More than three thousand electronic records have been created and added to the on-line library catalogue, with details about the existing editions and relevant information about individual copies. Along the way, the two cataloguers have […]